Monday, June 18, 2012

A Brief History of Video Games

Posted by YouTube user: polygon
“An abridged history of video games in under three minutes. Made using only sounds, music and video from the video games themselves. Produced for by Reverse Enginears featuring P Sus.”

The more of these games and sounds you can identify from memory, the more ANCIENT A creature you must be.. For the record, I knew them all.



Eye Candy: Xenomorph Desk Lamp from Evil Robot Designs

So here's a thing I desperately want, but can't have. One, because it's sold out. Two, because I probably couldn't afford it anyway.

Visit Evil Robot's page for more.


Tactus Technology's Dynamic Display Creates Physical Buttons And Shapes on Touchscreens

California based Tactus' Technologies, has developed a material that can instantly deform itself to create physically raised buttons and shapes, to coincide with the display on smart phones and other touch devices. What follows, is the technical explanation on how their new tactile surface works, as explained in the company's White Paper;

"Made of a thin multi-layer stack, the top-most layer consists of an optically clear polymer. A number of micro-holes connect the top layers of the panel to a series of microchannels that run through the underlying substrate. The micro channels are filled with a fluid whose optical index of refraction matches that of the surrounding material, making it fully and evenly transparent when light from the display passes through.

Increasing the fluid pressure causes the fluid to push up through the holes and against the top polymer layer, making it expand in pre-defined locations. This enables an array of physical and completely transparent buttons to rise out of the surface. A small internal controller that interfaces with the processor of the touchscreen device controls the rise and fall of the buttons. The controller allows a proximity sensor or a software application to control the state of the buttons. For example, the buttons could be triggered to rise whenever the software calls for the virtual QWERTY keyboard"

I think this is amazing. First, because it's one of those fake looking, sci-fi sounding technologies, that just doesn't seem like it should be real when you first learn about it. But also, because I realize there are a lot of  people who still can't quite get used to the button-less touchscreen thing, and would really like to get their buttons back. Where as I,  am not personally harboring any great longing for the days of raised keys and D-pads. In fact, I'd go so far as to say I've become pretty anti-button at this point, as far as my user interface goes anyway. And this way, everybody's happy. Plus, just thinking about all the future applications one might find for a self deforming material, is pretty inspiring.



Sunday, June 17, 2012

This Yo-Yo Video is WAY More Intersting Than You Probably Think It's Going To Be

So here's a sentence you've probably never heard before- "Hey, check out this Yo-yo video, it's amazing!" Or, if you have heard that sentence before, than your reaction was probably to stare back blankly, while slowly backing out of the room. I totally understand. But seriously, it's awesome, I think. Though there's always a fair chance that I'm just more easily amused than you are.


Saturday, June 16, 2012

Dutch Company Mars One Plans One Way Manned Mission to Mars By 2023

Posted by YouTube user: MarsOneProject

There are obviously many inherent problems with planning a maned mission to Mars. Not the least of which being the plethora of issues that arise with the time it would take to get there, which is about 7 months with current technology. But perhaps the biggest problem with such a mission, or it least the most cost prohibitive one, is figuring out how to bring people back once we get there. Which is why one long proposed solution to this issue has been- don't. And that's exactly what a privately funded Dutch Company called Mars One, hopes to do by the year 2023. 

The plan's pretty simple really, relatively speaking. In 2016, the company plans to place it's own communications satellite into orbit around Mars, followed by a rover in 2018, to scout locations for their proposed settlement. Living quarters and life support units, along with a second rover which will work in conjunction with the first to prepare said equipment, would arrive in 2020. And finally, in 2023, four Mars One astronauts would arrive to live out the rest of their lives on the martian surface. The settlement would then be kept alive by subsequent missions to the planet every two years, which would also bring new settlers with each trip.

Now, I'm a realist... Okay, I'm kind of a pessimist, if not a cynic, though I'm doing my best to try and be a little less of both those things. And while this is an obviously ambitious goal for any entity to try and accomplish, and one which I can't help but doubt will ever become a reality. The basic plan here, I think, is both a plausible and reasonable one. Particularly if you remember to take into account the exponential rate at which modern technology grows. And now that private industry has begun to get into the business of space exploration, just imagine the advances in space technology we can expect to see in the coming decade.

As for weather or not it's a worthwhile endeavor to even try and send people to live on another planet. I suppose that depends on what you think the ultimate purpose of space exploration really is. Because if it's just about cataloging facts about the universe. Then, as many have strongly argued, there's really no point in sending anything living out into the void, when robots are so much better suited for the task. On the other hand, if you happen to think the purpose of space exploration is, EXPLORATION. That human beings actually walking on the surface of other worlds and seeing those worlds with and our own eyes rather than over a live video stream, holds a value greater than simply collecting data. Then, like me, your answer is probably an enthusiastic, yes. And the idea that human beings living on another planet might actually be on it's way to becoming a reality, satisfies a fantasy you've been entertaining for a very long time.

And No, I don't mean the one with the girl with three boobs. I was actually trying to be all thoughtful and philosophical and stuff. Why do you always have to make everything dirty?



The Japanese Giant Salamander

Posted by YouTube user: NationalGeographic

I suspect it will surprise virtually none of you to learn that I happen to have an affinity for snakes, reptiles, and amphibians. Yes, I know, weird heavy-metal-guy has a thing for snakes, how predictable. But it's true. If it's slimy, scaly, and creepy, I probably think it's cute, pretty, or fascinating. I also have a thing for bugs and rodents... Have I mentioned that I'm odd?

So you can imagine my surprise when I discovered that apparently- GIANT SALAMANDERS ARE A THING! And I mean, actual GIANT salamanders. Cause, ya know, usually when ya hear the word giant, it just means as compared to regular sized, whatevers. But these things are HUGE! As in "Hey, look at me. I'm a 5 foot long, 80 lbs amphibian", huge. This may be one of my new favorite animals, ever.



Neutrinos, Still Not Faster Than Light, For Reals This Time

The first use of a hydrogen bubble chamber to detect neutrinos, on November 13, 1970. VIA: Wikimedia commons
Even people with no other interest in or knowledge of physics what so ever, are familiar with the concept that nothing can travel faster than light. This "cosmic speed limit" as it is often called, is based on Einstein's theory of special relativity, which, after now having stood up to over 100 years of experimentation, is one of the most tested, and well established facts in all of physics. So it's understandable why, when CERN published the results of an experiment late last year which seemed to show the sub atomic particle known as the neutrino might actually be capable of traveling faster than light, it was kind of a big deal.

The results in question were first published in September of 2011, after an experiment in which beams of neutrinos repeatedly fired (1500 times to be exact) from an accelerator in Geneva, managed to reach their destination in Italy a full 60 nanoseconds faster than should have been physically possible.

Not surprisingly, these results were met with skepticism  from the vast majority of physicists, who presumed they were likely due to an experimental error of some form, and would almost certainly not stand up to further analysis. Which wasn't a particularly surprising stance for them to take, given that actually confirming it to be possible for anything to violate the physical limits set by special relativity- yes, even by as little as 60 nanoseconds (60 billionths of a second)- would literally have redefined one of the fundamental rules of our reality as we now understand it. And sure enough, in February of this year an initial examination of the equipment used in the experiments, found that a combination of a faulty fiber optic connection and GPS unit, were most likely responsible for the result.

On June 8th, at the International Conference on Neutrino Physics and Astrophysics in Kyoto, CERN research director Sergio Bertolucci announced that the results of four new experiments designed to test the original findings. All of which, after correcting for the apparent timing errors in the original experiment, recorded a time of flight for their neutrinos that was under that of the speed of light. Thus making it official: Like every other known bit of matter in the universe, neutrinos, STILL can't travel faster than light.


VIA: Wired Science

Monday, June 11, 2012

This Week's Brushes Doodle: Felicia Day as "Invisalingua" With Tiny Infinite Wheaton

"Invisalingua" Have I mentioned bloggers ability to display  images clearly sucks?
Okay, so this week's Brushes painting is actually a bit more than a doodle, cause I actually spent some time on this one. In fact, this might be the first thing I've taken beyond unfinished sketch, in almost 10 years. It's not perfect, and a little silly, but I'm not gonna lie- I'm kinda proud of this one.

But you don't care about that. Cause, right now, you just wanna know what's up with all the pink and lady superheroes- Not that there's anything wrong with that. But let's be honest, it does kind of contradict my usual aesthetic around here. So let me explain.

Felicia Day has a YouTube channel called, Geek and Sundry. On which, she has what is essentially a video blog called, The Flog. Last week, she made up a superhero for herself and encouraged viewers to draw said superhero, and submit their efforts on twitter, where they are now being collected and placed on a Pintrest board. The superhero in question, "Invisalingua"- don't look at me, Felicia named her- can speak all languages, turn invisible, and has a tiny male sidekick named Tiny Man. Since I've been trying to make myself draw something at least once a week anyway, I decided to make Felicia's alter ego my art project for the week.

Thus explains what's with the lady superhero and the tiny Wil Wheaton. As for all the pink... Well, ALL girls like pink; FACT. so.. Ya...

Why am I single again?

In case you're curious:  The "painting" itself, once again, was done using the Brushes app on my iPhone. Which I really should write a proper review of one day, for those of you who might be curious about it. This time around though, I did have to employ a minor assist from Photoshop, for tiny man and the logo on her chest. Because, one of the downsides to illustrating something on a 3.5 inch touch screen, is the level of detail work you can do is kinda limited by pixel depth; having giant man hands doesn't help things much either. Seriously,  the fingernails on her hands, for example, are literally 3-4 pixels wide. So, tiny man, perfect circles, and crisp lettering, just wasn't happening.


Saturday, June 9, 2012

The Daly Show: Ep 7"The Daly Superheroes" With Nathan Fillion

Posted by YouTube user: sheltonfilms
I have a dream: Nathan Fillion + Bruce Campbell, together- being awesome. This NEEDS to happen.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Fine Art of Pentecostal Snake Fondling

VIA:National Geographic
Pentecostal snake handlers - They actually prefer the term serpent handlers, but, I have long standing tradition of not respecting the wishes of stupid people. Also, I think snake handling sounds dirtier, so- are a tiny subset of  x-tianity, that believes handling poisonous snakes to be a way of both testing and proving their faith in god. This particular brand of religious based idiocy was created in the late 1800's, by George Went Hensley, in a small church in Tennessee. And is currently practiced primarily in a handful of tiny congregations throughout the Appalachians, and other parts of the southeastern United States.

Because, somehow,  "Snake handling Preacher Killed By Snake", was shocking enough a headline to make national news. Though to me, it's about as shocking a story as the one associated with, "Man stands in Rain, Ends Up Wet.", would be. This, thankfully tiny group of religious nuts, managed to find it's way into the headlines last week. When -apparently- famous snake handling preacher Mack Wolford,, succumbed to a bite he received from a yellow timber rattlesnake at an evangelistic event in a state park about 80 miles west of Bluefield, in West Virginia
Now, obviously, a man is dead, and that's very sad for the people who cared for him. But I have another rule: It's impossible for anything tragic to happen to you, if you choose to deliberately engage in in the practice of tempting death on a regular basis. This rule applies to extreme sports, snorting chemicals for recreation, fans of The Dave Mathews Band*, and most certainly, irritating venomous animals as a means of asserting your belief in your invisible friend's will to protect you from harm. Which is the whole point of snake handling in the first place.

But while believers in the godly virtues of snake fondling do justify their practice of deliberately pissing off poisonous creatures, as a means of showing their dedication to god. There are also, according to those who practice the ritual, a number of misconceptions about their beliefs. The most common of which being that the faithful believe they either cannot get bitten, or that if they are, they will not die, thanks to some special protection granted them through their covenant with god. Personally, I suspect this particular "misconception" exists primarily because the entire faith is based, as far I can tell anyway, on two quotes from the new testament. Both of which specifically mention escaping death and or injury at the hand of venom and poison, based on a special covenant with god:

(Mark 16:17-18) And these signs shall follow them that believe: In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues. They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover -

 And(Luke 10:19) Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.

So apparently, turns out god was serious about the, taking up and treading upon of serpents and scorpions bits, just not so much with the, avoiding death and harm, bits. Which is great. Cause, ya know, otherwise it's really hard to explain to people how your particular brand of BS could be true, when those who practice it continuously die as result, despite god promising you that very thing would not happen.

Glad we cleared that up.


*Publicly broadcasting the music of Dave Mathews is CLEARLY an act of aggression and hatred towards others. Like all violent acts, it is only reasonable to assume you may someday justifiably suffer retribution, as a direct result of your own actions.

Monday, June 4, 2012

This Week's Brushes Doodle: Smiling White Demon

Was kind of stuck for ideas this week. So I ended up with this, weird, unfinished little thing. What can I say, I’m odd.


Sunday, June 3, 2012

This Week's Time-Lapse: Temporal Distortion

Been one of those week's when I just haven't been able to make time for much of anything I actually want to do. Gonna try and get some stuff up today. For now, here's another vid from Dakotalapse, on vimeo.